Padraig Harrington is set to make his season debut on the PGA Champions Tour this week at the Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida.
A four-time Champions Tour winner last year, including the Senior US Open, Harrington is joined in the field by other marquee names such as reigning Senior Open Champion Darren Clarke, four-time major winner Ernie Els, evergreen 65-year-old Bernhard Langer, 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk, current Schwab Cup leader Alex Cejka, and last season’s points race winner Steven Alker.
Harrington, whose last Champions Tour appearance came when cruising to victory at the Charles Schwab Championship last November, arrives in Florida after spending the early weeks of the year competing on the DP World Tour’s Middle-Eastern swing where he posted a solo-fourth place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Harrington will play alongside Clarke and two-time US Open Champion Retief Goosen in Friday’s opening round at Tiburon Golf Club, and they’re due to tee off at 2:45 PM Irish time.
Clarke arrives in Naples off the back of a tied-second place finish behind Steve Stricker at the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Golf Club in Hawaii, having opted not to travel to Morocco for the Trophy Hassan II last week.
The 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year, now based in the Bahamas, had been working hard on his game and his fitness during the offseason and was unfortunate to run into Stricker who was virtually unstoppable in Hawaii, with the 2021 US Ryder Cup captain shooting a second-round 60 to take control of the tournament.
Bernhard Langer is the defending champion, with last year’s Chubb Classic title being the 43rd of an illustrious Champions Tour career, and he’d go on to win number 44 at the Timbertech Championship in November. Langer will play alongside Furyk and Alker in the group ahead of Harrington and Clarke.
It will be an emotional week for Alker, whose long-time caddie Sam Workman passed away recently after a brief battle with cancer. Workman was on the bag for all four of Alker’s Champions Tour wins last year, playing no small part in the New Zealander’s victory in the season-long rankings race and the $1 million prize money that accompanied it.
Other notables in the field include NBC and Golf Channel analysts Notah Begay and Justin Leonard, both Champions Tour rookies who’ll be hoping their season’s golfing highlights come with a club as opposed to a microphone in hand.